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What the railroad means to America

Feb 25, 2010


Ryan Jenkins, a Norfolk Southern trainmaster in Memphis, has summarized in a few words what hundreds of freight railroaders and industry supporters are discussing in Washington right now.

That’s because today is Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, and Jenkins’ message was selected from among 67 submitted by NS employees in a contest sponsored by the GoRail grassroots organization in support of Railroad Day activities.

Throughout the day, freight railroaders, state and local government representatives, customers, suppliers, and others are meeting with national lawmakers and their staffs. Jenkins is joining them as they discuss a wide range of issues of importance to the rail industry and to America – everything from balanced regulation to the Crescent Corridor to jobs.

Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is held annually and is seen as an effective way of promoting continuing dialogue between lawmakers and railroad supporters.
Following is the text of Jenkins’ winning essay:

“While thinking of what to write for this essay, I received a phone call. A gentleman told me he had read in the paper of the new intermodal yard being built and asked where he could apply for a job. Once off the phone, the thought hit me... This country needs us!

“Right now, amidst a recession – whether we are recovering or not – trains are still running. Railroad money is still being invested in infrastructure. In turn, people are still investing in the railroads. Many people are looking for work. The railroads are still hiring – still hiring, still paying good pay, still giving good benefits, and still investing.

“When put into perspective, it seems to me the railroads are not only doing what is necessary to survive – they are investing in America... and we ALL win.”